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Orlando groups canvasing, busing seniors to vaccination sites

Seniors at Magnolia Points Apartments will get free ride to vaccine site next

ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando Commissioner Regina Hill has been working with other local organizations like Equal Ground Education Fund to canvas areas in northwest Orlando to help seniors that may not have access to transportation and the internet get a vaccine.

“I wish there were more people like this that would do something like this because a lot of people are home and can’t get out,” Patricia Davis said.

Davis is among the nearly two dozen seniors that live at Lorna Doone Apartments, in west Orlando, who have tried getting the vaccine with no luck.

“I kept trying to call and call and I’ve been on the phone all day and still didn’t get it,” Evelyn Bell said.

A partnership between Orlando Commissioner Regina Hill and other organizations like Pegasus Transportation is helping these seniors register and get the vaccine. The bus providing free transportation.

“The westside of Orlando has a large population of African Americans and Hispanic population.”

A population still falling behind when it comes to getting the vaccine. The latest data by the Florida health department shows, out of the more than 176,000 people vaccinated in Orange County, only 8% are Black and 20% are other groups. The Hispanic population does not have its own category for state records and is mixed in with both the White and Black population.

When the bus arrived at Valencia West campus, FEMA staff helped wheel some of the residents inside to get the shot. They were able to choose which one. Some going with the one-dose Johnson & Johnson, while others received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. About 2 hours later, the bus pulled back into the apartment complex.

“It was easy and quick,” said Diana Smith.

“I feel good. I’m glad they were going around taking names and letting us know something,” Bell said.

“Pegasus Transportation will be back in April to transport those who need their second dose of the vaccine. Hill said she and her staff are moving on to Magnolia Points Apartments to canvas for seniors who want to get vaccinated.

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